Chris Waller declares Funstar the ‘real deal’ after snaring first Group 1 win

Trainer Chris Waller sets Group 1 record as Come Play With Me claims 2400m classic
October 5, 2019
Chris Waller strikes again in Breeders’ Plate with Global Quest
October 5, 2019

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There will never be another Winx but Funstar was able to achieve something the great champion couldn’t do at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Funstar underlined her emerging potential with a commanding all-the-way win in the Group 1 $500,000 Flight Stakes (1600m).

Winx contested the Sydney spring carnival’s premier three-year-old fillies race in 2014 but was soundly beaten by First Seal at her first attempt at racing’s highest level.

Of course, Winx trained on to win a world record 25 majors and although trainer Chris Waller doesn’t expect Funstar to match her former stablemate’s extraordinary deeds, he does have a very good opinion of the filly.

“She is a talent,’’ Waller said of Funstar. “We’ve known what we’ve had and we’ve just carefully placed her.

“We learnt off previous horses we’ve had in the stable, pushing on from a winter preparation.

“She is the real deal. It was her first Group 1 but won’t be her last Group 1.”

Funstar ($1.75 favourite) went to the front early, controlling the race tempo then charging clear of Probabeel ($2.40) to win by a widening 3¼-lengths. The two outstanding fillies dominated the race with more than three lengths to Foxborough ($31) third.

Funstar, a daughter of Coolmore Stud’s 2014 Cox Plate winner Adelaide and a half sister to Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar, scored her fourth win from five starts in what is essentially her debut preparation.

Winx made her debut in June and got to the Flight Stakes at just her fifth start but Waller didn’t persevere with her spring campaign.

Waller said he was in two minds about whether to press on with Funstar to the Group 1 $1 million Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick or the Group 1 $1 million Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield next Saturday.

“We were in the same position with a similar horse a few years ago,” Waller said. “She (Winx) ended up being a very good horse for the stable.

“I think it would be hard to break my belief which is to looking after her and respect her age. She has been basically in since June but I’ll have a talk to the owners, she could go to the Spring Champion or the Thousand Guineas.

“But look after the horse and they will look after you. If I have my way we will see her in the autumn.”

James McDonald, who completed an early treble for the Waller stable after his wins on Global Quest and Dealmaker, said Funstar was “happy out in front’’.

“Funstar was on a nice, long loose reign, I was unaware of where all the other horses were because my main job was to focus on my filly and get her into a rhythm,’’ McDonald said.

“She is a super filly, a star in the making, and it’s a privilege to be part of it.’’

Probabeel was considered Funstar’s only rival but try as she might, she was no match for the winner.

“She has run well, the ground is probably a little bit softer than last time which might have just gone against her a little bit, but she still ran a gallant race,’’ said Kerrin McEvoy, rider of Probabeel.